The Woodlands (281) 292-4944 | Magnolia (281) 789-4956

Certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery

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Flat Feet: What are They and Can They be Fixed?


On a normal foot the arch is visible at all times, regardless of whether you’re standing, sitting or lying down. Adult-acquired flatfoot, also referred to as “fallen arches” is a condition in which the arch of the foot has collapsed.

There are two different kinds of flat feet, rigid and flexible. A person with rigid flat feet has no arch at any time, whether sitting or standing. This is often a result of an underlying issue, most often as a result of an abnormal formation of joints and/or bones during fetal development. Rigid flat feet are painful and more often than not they will require treatment.

In contrast, a person with flexible flat feet has a visible arch when their feet are not bearing weight, but the arch collapses when they put weight on the foot. Flexible flat feet are not typically symptomatic and therefore they can often go untreated.

Adult-acquired flatfoot is a progressive and painful deformity resulting from the gradual stretch of the tibialis posterior tendon, the tendon that attaches the calf muscle to the bones of the inside of the foot, as well as the ligaments that support the arch of the foot.

There are three stages of the adult-acquired flatfoot:

Stage I: Inflammation and swelling of the posterior tibial tendon around the inside of the ankle.
Stage II: Visible deformity comparing one foot to the other, as the symptomatic foot becomes flatter and more deformed. The deformity is movable and correctable in this stage.
Stage III: The foot progresses to a rigid, non-movable flat foot deformity that is painful, primarily on the outside of the ankle.

There are various options for treatment, depending on the specificity of the condition and the stage it’s in. In any case it is best to seek treatment early, before the condition becomes irreversible.

If you have symptoms of adult-acquired flatfoot please contact us at one of our two convenient locations in The Woodlands and Magnolia.